Fantasy News & Analysis

Week 6 waiver-wire pickups for IDP leagues

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Myles Garrett #95 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates with teammates after a sack against the New York Jets during a game at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Jets defeated the Browns 17-14. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Time flies when you’re having fun, eh? It’s hard to believe we’ve already reached Week 6 of the NFL season, essentially halfway through the fantasy football regular season. It feels as if opening weekend was just yesterday, but I’m sure most of us have already been touched by season-ending injuries in at least one league.

The loss of J.J. Watt to injured reserve this week will be hitting some of you hard, and hopefully no one has both Watt and Odell Beckham Jr. on the same team. But even if you do, I’m here with some potential waiver-wire adds for IDP leagues. One in particular player from Cleveland may well be of interest to you Watt owners, although you shouldn’t look past the new pass-rushing star in Seattle either.

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Defensive linemen

Frank Clark, Seattle Seahawks

Clark had his coming-out party against the Rams in Week 5 with a sack, a forced fumble and three total tackles. With Cliff Avril sidelined, Clark saw season-highs in snaps (57) and playing time (77 percent) and leveraged that into his biggest fantasy score of the season, taking his season sack total to 2.5. With Avril’s return date unknown, and head coach Pete Carroll suggesting his “serious stinger” could be career-ending, Clark will be the primary beneficiary on the field with an increased snap count. If assuming Avril’s former role, I see no reason why Clark can’t post DL2 numbers.

Jurrell Casey, Tennessee Titans

It’s been four seasons since Casey recorded a double-digit sack season, and dealing with both back and groin issues this year, it was good to see him get up to speed in the last two games, recording 12 total tackles and two sacks. Casey isn’t a DL1 in waiting as we once hoped, but he does have a pedigree that you rarely find on the waiver wire. He’s a 50 total tackle, five-plus sack guy, which is DL2/3 territory.

Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns

This is your one and only chance to grab Garrett, the first overall pick in the 2017 draft who missed the first four games of the year due to a high ankle sprain. The word on Garrett in the buildup was that he’d be on a limited snap count in his Week 5 debut, and he certainly was – he played just 19-of-53 snaps. Despite that, he made his presence known, notching two sacks (on 15 pass-rushes), so the hype train will be in overdrive this week. It is possible that some crazed Browns fan in your redraft league has had him stashed the entire season until now, but if you’re playing with more nuanced fantasy gamers, Garrett should be there on your waiver wire to grab. I won’t have much between Garrett and Clark in my rest-of-season rankings, although I’d make Clark the higher floor pick, and Garrett the upside play of the two.

Linebackers

Blake Martinez, Green Bay Packers

I gave Martinez a shout out a couple weeks back, but there was an element of projection in making that call. Fast forward to the post Week 5 landscape and Martinez has recorded 30 total tackles in his previous three games, and last week stepped into a three-down role for the first time, playing over 95 percent of defensive snaps. With that being the case Martinez is solidifying himself as a low-end LB2 option.

Preston Brown, Buffalo Bills

Through the first five weeks of the season, Brown has totaled 338 snaps, the sixth-most of any off-ball linebacker, and has turned that playing time, including those favorable home games with the Bills’ fantasy-friendly stat crew, into 30 total tackles. He’s yet to add a splash play, but as the team’s every-down middle linebacker posting two 10-plus-tackle performances in the last three weeks, Brown appeals to me as a player being under-rated. Brown has recorded at least 100 total tackles in all three seasons in his career to date, and is coming off the back of 139 total tackles last year, and continues to profile as a LB3 with upside if he can find a way to create some turnovers.

There are several names who were nowhere near the fantasy radar at the start of the season, who all continue to rack up points on a weekly basis. I’ve name dropped them all at least once over the first month of the season, but their names deserve repeating in case you are in a league where one or more of them remain available. Kendell Beckwith had 14 tackles last week, but his playing time is subject to Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander not being on the field. He’s a solid LB2 as long as he’s on the field in a three-down role. … Nick Vigil has retained an every-down role for the Bengals although Vontaze Burfict has returned from his suspension. He’s posted 34 total tackles, a sack and an interception to rank as an LB1 after five weeks of action. With Cincy on a bye this week, he may get passed over come waivers, and he shouldn’t be. … B.J. Goodson had 18 total tackles in Week 1 before he missed Weeks 2 and 3 due to injury. Although he hasn’t returned to an every-down role in Week’s 4 and 5, he has added 14 tackles and a forced fumble over those two games and is shaping up as a LB2 at worst. … Dallas’ Jaylon Smith, like Beckwith, is somewhat injury-dependent on maintaining his place on the field, but as long as he remains, he’s posting LB2/3 numbers (41 TT so far).

Defensive backs

Mike Mitchell, Pittsburgh Steelers

A fringe fantasy play for several years now, Mitchell continues to flirt with fantasy relevance. If you’re an owner who waited on defensive backs, or are pursuing a bye week or injury replacement, Mitchell offers a floor that can be hard to find on the waiver wire most weeks. In each of his three seasons as Steeler he has broken 70 total tackles, and although he missed Week 4 with a hamstring issue, Mitchell notched nine total tackles either side of missing the game. Grab Mitchell if you need a solid-floor DB3.

Kevin Byard, Tennessee Titans

Another high-floor player is Titans’ 2016 third-rounder Byard. With 34 tackles through five weeks, including an interception and fumble recovery to boot, Byard is also being used close to the line of scrimmage, which is a stat I really like to see from my fantasy defensive backs. His 84 snaps on run plays within eight yards of the line of scrimmage ranks 10th in the league, and is a good indicator that we can expect to see solid tackle totals moving forward.

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